All dedicated beginners usually already know that with the help of Photoshop you can heal the photos, clone the background, move the objects, adjust skin tones, and do many many amazing tricks, and there are lot of tutorials out there to guide you. But I want to talk about some main principles what to consider when you think about becoming a Photoshop user, or just have become one.
(1) Photoshop don’t have brains, and it doesn’t know by itself how to improve your photos
Obviously it’s clear for everyone, but still it’s a good thing to stop and think about before you go to buy yourself this high-end software. Sometimes people think if I have this first-rate camera or this expensive software I would produce amazing images. And they are unhappy when they can’t afford such tools. But reality is that you can achieve great results with your great skills and great knowledge. Absence of expensive equipment is not an excuse for boring photos. Your skills, knowledge and creativeness mostly make the great photo and only after that those super tools can help to get even better results. So before you buy yourself professional software, you can easily train your skills and learn the basic techniques with some free photo editing tools or lighter version of Photoshop - Adobe Photoshop Elements. If you later feel you need more professional tools, then all those extra features would be really helpful for you. So, basic skills are possible to learn with basic tools.
(2) Photoshop can be learned by trial and error, but the better way is to learn it with the help of experts
It means you need to know where to find the best training tools – videos, tutorials. An online class would be a great starting point, but another very useful place is Adobe TV. Learn the best and fastest ways to perform tasks before you acquire some bad habits by trial and error. Old habits die hard, they say. It’s true with Photoshop as well.
(3) Photoshop can ruin your photo and waste your time, or it can help you to work fast and productively
It’s good to gain the habit to manipulate your photo nondestructively. If you don’t have raw file to start with then always make a copy before you open it for editing. Learn to use layers, adjustment layers, smart filters, and masks. For example, if you put a text on your photo and a little bit later you realize that it should be more on the left, then it’s really hard to fix it when you have both text and photo on the same layer. And even when you are very sure how you want to modify your image and you are happy with end result, there will come always a day when you’ll think or even worse – you’ll be asked by a client - to make a little correction on your image, which you can’t fix otherwise that recreating your image from scratch, if you don’t want to ruin the quality. But with the layered image you could only adjust or move one layer. Much faster approach for unforeseen circumstances. And the final image will have much better quality while edited nondestructively.
(4) Photoshop can’t do magic with a crappy photo
That’s true. You need to have good source material to produce great manipulated images. Proper lighting while creating photos, crisp focus with the help of tripod, maximum image size and quality, raw files – it all helps you to get beautiful final result.
(5) Best way to store Photoshop files is to store them as layered psd file
Once again, there will always be moments when you wish to change something small on your image, maybe even some years later, and you would be very happy if you’ll find that you have saved your working project. Which brings us to another point – it’s always a good habit to manipulate your photo with the highest size possible. Even when you create an image for a website. When there is a slightest possibility that one day this image could be printed out on a large canvas or you would need a little bit different crop, then you would be very happy to have the best starting point available. And quite often you don’t know it in advance that you would need that image again after 3 years. So it’s better to have an habit to save your images as layered psd files. Although psd files are large, the storage space becomes cheaper and cheaper nowadays, so having one additional drive for your photos, have more advantages than disadvantages.
(6) Photoshop love tablets
Yes, it does. You will realize it when there comes first time when you need to isolate an object. Stick a ballpoint ink reservoir through the sponge and try to draw a circle holding the sponge, and then take a ballpoint pen and draw a circle – you’ll feel the difference. Tablet makes editing so much easier.
(7) There are shortcut keys available
And they are really useful and help you to speed up your work. It takes much less time to hit couple of keys on keyboard than go and select new tool from the menu or toolbar. Maybe one time the difference is not significant, but when it comes to hundreds keystrokes then you really can save a lot of time.
Photoshop can be lot of fun and it’s rewarding to acquire good habits right at the beginning.
Happy photoshopping! Oops - happy using the Adobe® Photoshop®!